POSTSCRIPT / August 23, 2009 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Kneel, and heal our beloved Philippines

Our Father in Heaven, has promised:

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)

This divine promise is recalled by Fr. James Reuter, SJ, in his email being forwarded in the Internet by Filipinos alarmed at the Philippines’ rate of decay.

From People Power, Father Reuter is suggesting a shift to Prayer Power. Here are excerpts from his message:

“By her own admission, GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) rightfully assessed that over the last decades, our republic has become one of the weakest, steadily left behind by its more progressive neighbors.

“Forty years ago, we were second only to Japan in economic stature, and way ahead of Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand. Today, at our present growth rate, it will take us 30 years to get to where Thailand is. xxx

“The signs are clear. Our nation is headed towards an irreversible path of economic decline and moral decadence. It is not for lack of effort. We’ve seen many men and women of integrity in and out of government, NGOs, church groups and people’s organization devote themselves to the task of nation-building, often against insurmountable odds.

“But not even two people’s revolutions, bloodless as they may be, have made a dent in reversing this trend. At best, we have moved one step forward, but three steps backward.

“We need a force far greater than our collective efforts, as a people, can ever hope to muster. It is time to move the battle to the spiritual realm. It’s time to claim God’s promise of healing of the land for His people. It’s time to gather God’s people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation.

“Is prayer really the answer? Before you dismiss this as just another rambling of a religious fanatic, I’d like you to consider some lessons from history.

“England’s ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fueled by intense prayers.

“The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today — a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayerful life. Throughout its history, and especially at its major turning points, waves of revival and prayer movements swept across the land.

“In recent times, we see Korea as a nation experiencing revival and in the process producing the largest Christian church in the world today, led by Rev. Paul Yongi Cho. No wonder it has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering.

“Even from a purely secular viewpoint, it makes a lot of sense. For where there is genuine humbling and seeking of God through prayer, moral reformation necessarily follows. And this, in turn, will lead to general prosperity. Yes, we believe prayer can make a difference. It’s our only hope.

“Today, we launch this email brigade, to inform Filipinos from all over the world to pray, as a people, for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation. xxx We only ask for five minutes of your time to forward this email to your friends and relatives.

“This is the kind of unity which can make a big difference. Of course, if you feel strongly, as I do, about the power of prayer, you can be more involved by starting your own prayer group or prayer center.

“We have tried people power twice. In both cases, it fell short. Maybe it’s time to try prayer power. God never fails. Is there hope? Yes! We can rely on God’s promise, but we have to do our part. If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, God will heal our land. xxx”

(NB: We can forward Father Reuter’s full email to those who want it.)

* * *

EDSA BREEZE: From Friday, a holiday, until yesterday going into the weekend, driving down EDSA was literally a breeze. The usual horde of kamikaze drivers on both sides of the yellow lane was not there.

One would think that with most lanes wide open, drivers would be speeding or zigzagging like crazy. On the contrary, the traffic was generally relaxed and orderly. The few exceptions, I surmise, were those who were late for appointments.

I want to conclude that we Filipino drivers are not really that bad – given the right road conditions that ease much of the stress bedeviling people behind the wheel.

Just like in an aquarium, the fewer the fish the more languid they swim and the longer they survive.

* * *

CLEAN & GREEN: With the pacing more relaxed, suddenly I noticed the pleasant makeover of EDSA along the MRT line patiently eked out by MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando.

Fernando’s crews never yielded in their race against the sooting and splattering of the underpass walls. After repaving and marking out anew the lanes, they also painted over the hard-to-reach MRT columns.

They have coaxed greenery to sprout on the center islands and prodded dainty but hardy cadena de amor (an inspired idea!) to embrace the columns with their amorous tendrils. Now EDSA looks prettier than before Fernando came in.

The chairman strikes me as someone who recoils at criticisms (the more you assail what he does, the more he might insist on it), but I suggest that he remove all billboards on EDSA – to round up his cleaning and beautifying of this avenue.

Fernando’s tenacity in pursuing what he thinks is right and good for the majority – whatever the political cost to him — is something that this unruly nation needs. Sooner or later his point is seen, and appreciated.

* * *

(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 23, 2009)

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